Meal plan – Sticky pork with egg fried rice and a new job for Mum

I am so bored with cooking. A couple of weeks ago MrG was unfortunately made redundant. I decided that I should probably have a reliable income just in case it takes a while for the whole recruitment world to open back up. So, I got a job. Within about 30 mins of deciding to look. It was crazy fast! I am now a contact tracer.

Luckily I am still working from home but having to put in 40 hours per week means that pretty much everything else has gone to the dogs – including our meals! I cannot remember the last time Moose ate a proper vegetable but he is eating plenty of fruit so I’m not panicking just yet.

In my defence, it has been a LONG time since I was anything other than self employed and it is going to take a little getting used to. On the upside all I’m doing at work is training, it’s just a little difficult to meal prep and cook while attending meetings and trying to make sure the kids aren’t at each others throats. Yeah, you in the back, you are right. My husband could be cooking. He could be, but he’s not.. so here we are.

There is no way we can afford to slip back into bad habits though. With that in mind we are doubling down on the meal planning and I have even written an actual shopping list! Things are going to be tight for a while but that shouldn’t mean we can’t eat well.

Our week in food

Saturday: Chinese chicken curry with boiled rice

Sunday: Roast lamb with roasted veg and roasted potatoes

Monday: Pulled pork with mac & cheese

Tuesday:  Chicken flatbreads with Mediterranean rice

Wednesday: Spaghetti carbonara

Thursday: Sticky pork with egg fried rice

Friday: Hot dogs with corn on the cob & sweet potato fries

Katykicker

SuperZings Series 5 collectibles and SuperZings – Mission playsets

Disclaimer: We were sent these SuperZings products for the purpose of this free of charge review. All opinions remain honest and our own.

Moose loves Superheroes and is also very partial to a blind bag not mention his passion for collectables. So, when a huge bundle of a toy ticking all of those boxes landed on our doorstep he was thrilled!

excited boy with superzings toys

What are SuperZings

SuperZings are everyday objects and items transformed into Super Heroes and Dastardly Super Villains. They can be bought in several ways;

superzings blind bags

  • Single figure blind bags priced at just 80p each making them the cheapest blind bags on the market! There are 80 figures to collect in the season 5 series. As with past series, there are hero SuperZings (Sky Runners, Air Wings or Flying Surfers) and there are villainous SuperZings (Lightning Raiders, Black Comets or Rocket Gang).

  • SuperZing Skyracers. Each of these £4 blind bags contains a SuperZings character as well as a vehicle – each of these has it’s own cool features.

  • SuperZings Mission Playsets. With an RRP of £15 they are a little pricier but you really get a lot of play value here. We received the Bank Assault Mission play set which comes with Agent Silverstar and villain Gold Hands. Moose loved the bank vault which you can blow open at the push of a button to reveal gold bars inside! We also received the Fire Strike set which comes with a fire engine and a helicopter which shoots “water”.

What did we think?

SuperZings seems to have really done their homework. Every single aspect of this collectable toy is appealing to my 5 yr old – and the price point is very appealing to me!

Moose loved the Hero Vs Villains game play so much. He’s spent hours playing out scenarios with the little figures. He even got some dice and created his own little battle game! He has returned to his SuperZings sets again and again since he received them and for the price they are I would be more than happy to buy more.

Review: Learning resources – Our learn at home best friend. Sight Word Swat and Sum Swamp.

These products were gifted for the purpose of this post. All opinions remain honest and our own

Of all of the plans I had made for this year, becoming a full time teacher to my children was most definitely not top of the list – let’s be honest, it wasn’t even near the list.

Now that we are a few weeks into this home learning malarkey I am not exactly finding it easy but there have been a few tools that I have picked up along the way which seem to be really helping.

  • I have my schedule written out and stuck to the fridge. That way everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing. A good thing about being at home is that the schedule can be loose. If we wake up on a Wednesday and its hot and sunny then we can make that our Saturday if we want to. I quite like that part of home learning and so do the children!
  • On an average day we do PE with Joe at 9am to wake us up before we launch into any kind of learning. With everyone being at home so much more I think it makes a massive difference to how our day goes if we do something physical first
  • I keep the snacks coming. I am led by my stomach and my offspring are no different. If they are hungry then nothing is going to go smoothly
  • Most importantly:

Make learning fun

This is basically the most important thing I try to remember by far. Moose just responds so much more positively when we make learning into a game. A really easy way to do this of course is by actually playing games and nobody does educational games better than Learning Resources.

Learning Resources offered to send us a couple of their games to review and I jumped at the chance! I had seen both Sight Word Swat and Sum Swamp in the shops and I was interested to see how helpful they could be with Moose’s learning.

Sum Swamp

I love the idea behind this game. At first glance it is a fairly typical board game but this one has a twist! To play the game you have 3 dice to roll rather than 1. The 3 dice are 2 numbers and then one instruction dice with +/- on it. You roll all 3 and then you have to complete the sum shown on the dice to work out how many spaces to move.

There is a bit about halfway along on the board where you can get caught in a bit of a loop (which I do) but Moose finds this utterly hilarious.

The game itself doesn’t take long to play. It is suitable for 5+ which I think is about right. The game board is designed in bright colours with fab illustrations. It’s clearly laid out and we picked it up within 10 minutes of beginning to play. Moose asks to play this game everyday and we have actually begun to use the Sum Swamp dice for other games too!

Sight Word Swat!

Before my children started school I had no idea what a sight word was! It turns out that there is a list of words that our kids are expected to be able to recognise instantly and effortlessly, i.e. on sight. Some of these words can be sounded out phonetically, others need to be learned off by heart as they sound different than they look. The game – and our school – refers to these as ‘tricky words’. Sight Word Swat! aims to help your child to learn to do exactly that in the form of a fun game.

In the box

you will find 150 double-sided cards in the shape of flies featuring 300 different sight words. The cards are colour coded for five different phases, each with increasing difficult, and in addition all the harder ‘tricky’ words have been highlighted in bold and yellow.

We tend to play this with a mix of levels just because I find it helps Moose more. Plus it helps build his confidence! To play the game simply select your fly cards and lay them out on the table so that all players can see them. Then an adult would call out one of the words and the first player to find and swat that word wins. The beauty of this game is that it can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Set a time limit or a number of words. At the end of the game the players can read out their sight words to help reinforce that they know those words.

Moose did so much better at this than I had expected! He managed to find a good range of words and I think if he had kids his own age to play against it would have been fantastic fun. Unfortunately for him he played against his big sister. She didn’t go easy on him. Nonetheless he loves the game and I love how simple it is to play.

Learn more about Learning Resources

As well as creating some fabulous STEM toys and games, Learning Resources also have a website which offers a massive amount of boredom busting activities and ideas to keep your little ones focused both indoors and outdoors long after this Corona virus business has left us https://blog.learningresources.co.uk/free-resources-for-home-learning/

We are definitely going to be making good use of this weblink over the next few months I think. So many fab ideas and most using things we have laying around at home!

 

 

Getting outdoors and tempting fate – Living Arrows Week 17 2020

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

The first photo this week is from one of our walks this week. We haven’t been getting out as much as we really ought to. I am trying a bit harder to make the most of our local area. It’s hard though, when you have 1 child at primary school and another at secondary. Their workloads are completely different and it makes finding a time to get out as a family a bit tricky.

We did manage to get out though and the children and I explored a local woodland. We are quite lucky to live so near to such a space. Inside the wood, Moose found a great little den that another family had started creating so we added some branches to it.

The second photo this week is of my beautiful Bess. I am so proud of how she is conducting herself throughout this lock down. She is 14 and I know she is missing her friends like crazy but she hasn’t complained about having to stay at home even once. She has lent a hand by occasionally watching her little brother so I could get work finished and making up games for them to play together. We have had the occasional day of bad moods but frankly, I think we are all allowed those at the moment and children/teens really are no different. As a treat and to tempt fate I said yes to her dying her hair with an Ultra Violet packet dye we found in a cupboard. She LOVES it!

 

Living Arrows

Keeping the kids busy with Spinmaster toys

Products in this post were provided for the purposes of this or previous posts and reviews

I have always been a big advocate of all toys being meant for all children. There are no boys toys and girls toys in this house! Spinmaster are a brand whose toys have been consistently a hit with my children as well as nieces and nephews over the years. Now that we are heading from Spring and into Summer (and we all have far more month left than money) we are going through and sorting out toys to play with indoors and outdoors too! Here are a few of our Spinmaster favourites.

Fuggler

I will be honest, I’m not sure whether it’s me or Moose who loves these little guys more but since our first, Snuggla the Fuggler came to live with us, we have had many other Fuggler additions to our family. You can read more about our adventures with our very first Fuggler here

Meccano

For over 100 years, Meccano has inspired countless engineers, designers, architects and creative minds of all ages. Meccano is more than just a toy, it is a tool for teachers and educators.

Meccano has worked with the best schools and universities, including the USC Engineering and Robotics Research Lab, to make its Meccano Maker System line highly compatible with STEM initiatives.

Kinetic Sand and Rocks

kinetic sand

A toy I both love and hate in equal measure. Don’t get me wrong, it is utterly brilliant for creative play but if you have ever tried to clean Kinetic rock off a rug then you know… Outdoor play with this stuff is (in my humble opinion) the way forward.

That said, Moose will play with his Kinetic rock or his Kinetic sand at any given opportunity and once it’s out, it keeps him occupied for AGES!

We were lucky enough to review both and you can read more about Kinetic rock here and Kinetic sand here.

Hatchimals

Moose loves a collectable and he enjoys a surprise toy. Hatchimals is seriously up his street! The characters are cute and the process of getting into the eggs is easy and quick enough for him not to get bored. A good all rounder I think. We were sent some Hatchimals to review and you can read more here

Air Hogs

Who doesn’t love a rocket? What I like best about the Air Hogs Sonic Rocket is how simple it is. Because it really is simple, Moose and his friends have hours of fun with it. You can read our review here 

Cool Maker KumiKreator

Easily spin to create: The cool maker kumikreator is a breakthrough bracelet maker, it makes it so easy to create friendship bracelets without a single knot needed! We have reviewed this one in the past – you can read about it here. Bess still uses it! Moose loves the bracelets his sister makes for him too.

Bakugan

This one has definitely been the big hit of the Spring in our house. Moose has been playing with this one most days! You can read our review here.